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Album Review: New Order - Music Complete

16 September 2015 | 2:29 pm | Mac McNaughton

"Frankly, this is unlike any record they've done before."

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"I vividly remember being sat... in some New York club watching people dance and thinking, 'Wouldn't it be great if they were dancing to us?'" (Bernard Sumner, 2011). Twenty-six years and four albums since they last consciously embraced the dancefloor, New Order have confidently elbowed back onto it with their strongest set since 1989's Technique.

The elephant in the room is how the band handle not having their feuding, estranged founder bassist Peter Hook around. It's a question that obviously hasn't troubled the band (now armed with a new bassist and guitarist). Restless is an odd choice to lead with, being flat as week-old Sunkist, but Plastic's I Feel Love thrum provides immediate ecstasy. Singularity (and later, Unlearn This Hatred) lights up its dazzling electronic agenda thanks to Chemical Brother Tom Rowlands — the first of several guests delivering top notch contributions. Elly 'La Roux' Jackson rides a Frankie Goes To Hollywood thump via Larry Levan on Tutti Frutti, Iggy Pop stalks his prey on Stray Dog while Mr. Brightside himself Brandon Flowers repays a notable debt by getting away with making Superheated a soaring feelgood light-rock closer. Frankly, this is unlike any record they've done before. The wishy-washy Nothing But A Fool and unfocused The Game fail to totally fire the glitter canons leaving eight furiously danceable songs that beg the rebuilding of Manchester's fabled Hacienda club. Hooky might be winning their history by touring their classic albums, but New Order are owning their future.